Avoid Phishing ScamsThe Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies, and tax professionals are working together to protect taxpayers from stolen identity refund fraud. As partners, we share tips as part of the 2019 National Tax Security Awareness campaign to help keep you informed on the latest scams. These tips provide useful information to protect you.  Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from phishing scams:

First, the most common way thieves steal your identity is simply by asking for it. Their favorite tactic is a phishing email. Phishing emails bait you into opening them. They pose as a trusted company – maybe your bank, a favorite retailer or your tax professional.

Second, learn to recognize and avoid them. The scams tell an urgent story – i.e. there’s a problem with your account – and instructs the receiver to open an embedded link or download an attachment.

Third, don’t take the bait. The link may send you to a familiar website to login, but your username and password goes to the thieves. Or, the scam suggests you open an attachment, which secretly downloads malicious software. Either are bad news. Just hit delete.

And no, that’s not the IRS calling with demands of payment and threats of jail or a lawsuit. The IRS does not make angry, threatening phone calls. Nor does the IRS request payment via gift cards or debit cards, like iTunes cards. Always make your payment to the U.S. Treasury.

If you have received an IRS notice and want to discuss, please contact me.

Learn how to create strong passwords.

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